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Puckinflight

An all things aviation blog

Monthly Archives: May 2013

TUI Travel operating under Thomson Airways has officially taken delivery of its first 787. TUI Travel is the ninth carrier to operate the 787 and they have 12 more on order. The delivery flight to Manchester GB is expected to take place this afternoon. The aircraft is expected to eventually replace their 767s and will be used on flights to Orlando and Cancun.

Happy Travels!

Colpuck

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S7 Airlines, member of the Oneworld alliance, is up for sale, maybe. The current rumor according to Russian state news agency Interfax is that the majority holders of the airline are looking to sell their 71% stake in the airline, though the airline is denying this. Also, the Russian Government is looking to sell their minority stake in S7. If there are no bids for the stake, then according to Route-News.com, expect the see the stake handed over to Aeroflot or Rostech (a Russian aircraft leasing company). I suspect that Aeroflot will get the minority stake from the government and then attempt to get the majority stake from the current holders. If this happens I would expect S7 to move out of Oneworld and merge into Aeroflot.

 

Happy Travels!

colpuck

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This post needs a little background. Before the whole battery issue Boeing was prepping 787s for delivery to China Southern and Hainan Airlines. Then all of the sudden Boeing moved the China airframes to long-term storage. Nothing came out from either Boeing or the airlines set to take delivery. Now, this was late last year. Fast forward to 2013 and the FAA and the JAA grounded the 787 fleet. The EU aviation authority quickly followed suit. As Boeing worked on the battery fix they also sorted out their issues with the Chinese aviation authority. Today, the Chinese issued a type certification for the 787 and I assume deliveries will begin shortly.

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AirTran Airlines today was assessed a $100,000 civil penalty of which $50,000 has been deferred because of deceptive advertising. From September to December last year AirTran ran an advertising campaign touting its new credit card that would give out two free round-trip tickets if the minimum spend was reached.  While AirTran did not charge any fees on those tickets, they failed to mention that the consumer would have to pay the 9/11 security fee which is $2.50 per flight number up to $10.00 per ticket on the advertising.

While the order didn’t mention how the DOT became aware of this, I can only assume some of people who got the card, met the several thousand dollar minimum spend, and redeemed free tickets filled DOT complaints about the 9/11 fee. While it is a nominal fee, airlines are compelled to disclose the fee in their advertising which AirTran here failed to do. For that they get to visit pay.gov and hand over 50K. The other 50k fine will be waived if AirTran doesn’t commit any more advertising violations in the next year.

Happy Travels!

Colpuck

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In what is almost non-news United Airlines announced to Milepoint.com and Flyertalk.com that they will be retrofitting their narrowbody airbus fleet. The upgrades include wifi internet and AVOD and power in first and economy plus. However, the upgrades are almost entirely overshadowed by the notice that United will be installing Recaro’s slimline seats. These seats have been adopted by Southwest and numerous European carriers to universal disappointment of travelers. The seats allow the airline to reduce pitch and cram in more seats into an already cramped space.

How far we have fallen from the days of more “room in coach.” You may remember the ads from TV and here is a 2000 NYT article detailing American Airlines plan to put “more room in coach.”

United Airlines has pledged to pay for extra padding, head rests, and adjusted the seat design so that travel will not be as painful as it is on Southwest or the other European carriers that have adopted the seat. However, this remains to be proven true. Based on the description provided it looks like the seat will probably look like Recaro’s current long-haul seat the CL3620 imaged below.

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While the current design is up in the air the other development, wifi, interests me more. Again taking a page out of Southwest’s book, United is going to add wifi internet and streaming AVOD. Southwest’s current offering is described here. I think we can expect to see something similar adopted by United, just more expensive. United previously made available to its first class passengers free Direct-TV on flights with Direct-TV. This will probably not extend to the wifi equipped plane and we will start to see first class passengers being asked to pay wifi. Cramped planes, expensive wifi, no other IFE, UA’s airbus fleet will have the same experience as US Airways’ fleet, just with more pitch and worse food.

The race to the bottom continues.

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Happy Travels!

Colpuck

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I just finished watching season two, episode three of Airport 24/7 MIA. Tonight’s episode featured a bomb threat in the rental car facility, an overbooked Lufthansa flight, and customs search.

Read more after the break for a breakdown and spoilers.

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Today the DOT released its decision on what to do with the DCA slot pair that Spirit Airlines returned to the DOT when it shifted service from DCA to Baltimore/Washington Airport. There were three bids for the slot pair and today the DOT awarded Southwest the slot to start HOU-DCA.

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The TSA Pre-Check program that features reduced security for passengers deemed low risk has been rolled out to international flights leaving the US. Previously, a person eligible for pre-check that was on an international flight was unable to use the pre-check security.

http://www.tsa.gov/press/releases/2013/05/06/tsa-pre%E2%9C%93%E2%84%A2-expands-expedited-screening-benefits-international-travel

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What is Standby, basically you show up to the airport in advance of your flight and try to hop on an earlier flight. Airlines used to do this as a matter of routine because it is a win-win. The airlines fill a seat that would have gone out empty and they get an open seat on a later flight that can be used for IRROPS. The passenger wins because they get to go somewhere sooner. However, US Airlines discovered this could be a revenue stream and have changed their policies to get customers to pay for the privilege.  Some airline force customers to use the “Same day confirmed or SDC” this means for a reduced fee airlines will confirm the passenger on to an earlier flight. We’ll discuss that policy in another post. So when you see references to SDC that’s what that means.

Here is the list of US Airline policies:

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On May first, Southwest airlines agreed to a $150,000 civil penalty assessed by the DOT for violations of Federal Air Regulations. The Regulation violated mandates that a carrier providing secluded air service with aircraft with more than 19 seats respond to consumer complaints within a 30 to 45 days depending on the nature of the complaint.

Apparently in 2012 Southwest pushed out an update to their website that resulted in Southwest not receiving complaints that had been filed on the website. Out of the $150,000, Southwest has to provider refunds in the amount of $115,000 and pay the government $35,000. In case you’re wondering Southwest has to use pay.gov to tender the $35,000.

Ouch.

Happy Travels

colpuck

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